Cessna's LSA Prototype Lands At AOPA
After flying from
Wichita, KS in Cessna's (likely? Inevitable?) future entry into the
LSA market, Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton
called his company's all-aluminum Sport, the airplane with ramp
appeal "that puts a smile on your face."
It's banner days for Pelton and his company, and "very exciting
times for our industry," he told a group of Cessna-devotees and
press this week at AOPA Expo 2006.
"We're seeing unprecedented and phenomenal business growth,"
said Pelton, and does not foresee either a flattening or decline
for Cessna in the near future.
To date, Cessna's LSA proof of concept has made over 11
flights, accumulating more than 20 hours in the air.
While this year saw more than a half-dozen milestones for the
company -- including the 50th anniversary of the C182 and C172,
which "helped to teach the world to fly" -- 2007 promises even more
That includes celebration of Cessna's 80th anniversary; its
alluring, "dare to be sexy in a way no 210 could ever hope to
achieve" Next Generation Piston aircraft (concept mock-up shown
below), and the potential introduction of a Cessna Light Sport
Not one to just "follow the LSA crowd," Pelton explained that
the company took its first look at the LSA market from feedback
from its Cessna Pilot Center flight school network on this new and
emerging market. Representatives, Pelton said, say an LSA would be
a good fit for their flight training needs.
Said Pelton, "We are looking at a very, very attractive product
to bring people into aviation at an affordable price point."
Cessna is looking at the competitions' product offerings, as
well as the value proposition its own aircraft would bring to the
market. So how much? Somewhere in the vicinity of the $100,000...
preferably well south of that to start.
So what does it look like?
The Cessna prototype, with its focus on comfort and "ramp
- A wing span of 30 feet
- Tricycle gear
- 100-hp Rotax 912 engine
- Side-by-side seating for two
- Wing area of 120-square feet
- Length of 22.75 feet
- Gross weight of 1,320 feet
- 48-inch maximum cabin width, with as much interior space as a
Cessna 182 (and a half-foot more than the Cessna 152), and baggage
accessibility from the cabin,
- Grand visibility without strut interference
Cessna's sport aircraft concept incorporates dual control
sticks, upward opening doors, toe brakes, and a castering nose
How do I get me one of those?
Cessna announced its intention to study the feasibility of
developing and producing an LSA just this past June; the POC
aircraft made its first flight October 13, 2006k just nine months
after the first metal was cut.
"The more we evaluate our LSA POC airplane and the market
potential for such an aircraft," said Pelton, "the stronger our
conviction is that this could be a favorable step for our company's
The company continues to study the sales and distribution
alternatives required should the program moves forward, as well as
"Overall, the business case is looking promising, and the
responses we're receive from current customers and potential new
customers has been overwhelming favorable." Cessna will announce
its decision the first quarter of 2007.